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Motorola Moto G50 review: Pick of the budget Moto Gs this Black Friday

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
200
inc. VAT

The Moto G50 offers the perfect balance between price and performance

Pros 
Temptingly priced
Very good power per pound
Phenomenal battery life
5G ready
Cons 
Mediocre main camera
IPS screen
Tricky to reach fingerprint reader
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Another day, another Moto. And there’s a certain (albeit uneven) logic to the Motorola Moto G50, coming as it does between the £450 Moto G100, £160 G30 and £130 Moto G10
 
But is the £200 Moto G50 pitched perfectly between the underpowered entry models and underwhelming premium version, or is it just an awkward middle child?

Motorola Moto G50 review: What you need to know

The Moto G family has swollen in ranks in recent years. Not content with just having a Play, Plus and Power variant of the G each year, Motorola has now gone into double and triple figures with its numbering system.

 
 

As I mentioned in my intro, the Moto G50 sits between the G10, G30 and G100 in terms of price, and that means you’re also getting (on paper) middle-child performance, although the G50 is certainly closer to the G30 than it is to the G100. You’re looking at an octa-core 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset backed up with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage, with microSD expansion if required. 
 
There’s also a triple-camera array on the back, and it has a couple of nice-to-have features that are pretty rare at this price: a 90Hz screen and 5G connectivity.

Motorola Moto G50 review: Price and competition

Speaking of prices, the Moto G50 costs £200, which makes it £70 more than the Moto G10 and £30 more than the Moto G30. However, it’s a massive £250 cheaper than the Moto G100.
 
So, what else can you get around the £200 mark? Well, the best value proposition at the moment is the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC, which also retails for £200. The Moto G9 Plus costs that much these days, too, though it did originally retail for £260.
 
Going a little cheaper, both the Realme 7 (£180) and Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T (£229, but often much lower) offer plenty of bang for your buck on a budget, too. 

Motorola Moto G50 review: Design

Motorola handsets, from the cheapest to the most expensive (folding Razr aside), have all followed a pretty similar design trend in recent years, and the Moto G50 once again has looks that belie its cheap price of entry.

 
 
If there was a clue to its low cost, though, it comes in the form of the bezels, which are a bit thicker than you might expect on a 2021 phone. This isn’t particularly distracting, however, except on the chin where it stretches to a couple of millimetres in width. 
 
There’s no fancy in-screen fingerprint reader here, with Motorola instead using a circular sensor on the back which, while functional, makes unlocking the phone when flat on your desk a bit of a chore. Next to the scanner is the triple-camera array, tucked neatly in a rectangular box in the top left-hand corner. As you might expect for the price, it’s plastic all the way here.
 
Motorola has traditionally been good at offering consumer-friendly extras that the big players such as Samsung and Apple often neglect. To that end, you’ll find expandable storage for microSD cards up to 1TB in size and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the phone.

Motorola Moto G50 review: Screen

The Moto G50’s 6.5in screen is an IPS panel with a resolution of 1,600 x 720, which gives it a pixel density of 269ppi. That’s low for smartphones, but about what you expect from most laptop screens, which makes it more than sharp enough for most people’s needs.

 
And in true Motorola fashion, it’s a solid screen, which offers excellent value in such a low-cost handset. Using a colorimeter, I found it covered 92.2% of the sRGB gamut with an sRGB volume of 99% – in other words, colour coverage is both wide and accurate. Additionally, the measured contrast of 1,764:1 is more than sharp enough. 
 
In terms of brightness, the measured 431cd/m² is a little low for an IPS screen, but it’s still bright enough for comfortable use on all but the brightest of sunny days.

Motorola Moto G50 review: Performance

The Motorola uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 processor – a chipset we’ve only benchmarked once before when reviewing the middling £300 Nokia X20. Suffice it to say at £100 cheaper, it’s easier to be complimentary about the Moto G50.

 
Below, I’ve compared its benchmarks against the two cheaper members of the double-figure Moto G family, as well as the top version of Moto’s last-gen handsets, the Moto G9 Plus (which comes in at roughly the same price). As you can see, the Moto G50 does a much better job of holding its own against the other members of the £200 club.

 
Crucially, when it comes to the 3D performance, it’s a huge improvement on the G10 and G30. Don’t be too drawn in by the eye-catching red line, though – that’s mainly because of the comparatively low-resolution 720p display. But even on the level playing field of the pale orange bar (where output is equalised to 1080p across the board) the Moto G50 goes toe-to-toe with all comers, only narrowly missing out to the marvellous Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC (note: we couldn’t get GFXBench working on the Redmi Note 9T, so it’s omitted here.)

 
And for battery life, probably helped again by the low-res screen, the Moto G50 is the new champion, managing a heroic 25hrs 45mins in our looped video test. That’s a couple of hours ahead of the other Motorola-branded competition, and seven hours ahead of the non Motos in our roundup. Really impressive.

Motorola Moto G50 review: Camera

As there now seems to be a law that all phones, no matter what price, must have at least three rear cameras, the Moto G50 duly follows suit, with three lenses of varying degrees of usefulness. The main 48MP (f/1.7) camera is joined by a 5MP (f/2.4) macro lens and a 2MP (f/2.4) depth sensor for arty bokeh shots.

 
On paper, those specs sound extremely promising for the price (even if the Moto G30 packed a 64MP sensor in for £30 less) but in truth the numbers only tell half the story, and while the Moto G50’s camera isn’t exactly bad, it won’t blow you away in terms of image quality either.

 
Admittedly, it was an overcast day when I got my usual church shot in, but even with that allowance made, the image is a touch disappointing. It all looks okay(ish) from a distance…

 
...but zoom in, and you’ll see a worrying amount of noise especially around the windows. That doesn’t bode well for low-light conditions, but at sunset the Moto G50 coped reasonably well, all things considered. Here’s a shot of my garden as the sun began to recede.

 
It’s not too bad at all. You can clearly make out each distinct leaf, and while it’s not packed with detail, you certainly won’t struggle to figure out what you’re looking at.

 
Zoom into the frame and you’ll spot that the problems of day shots are greater in these low-light conditions. The image is even noisier, and any sense of detail is replaced with a blur as the camera sensor clearly struggles to cope.
 
To be clear, this is a problem with all budget phone cameras, but the problem is less severe with either the Poco X3 NFC or Motorola’s last-gen Moto G9 Plus. You can do much better if you have an extra £150 to spend on the Google Pixel 4a, which has the same camera sensor and image processing credentials as the company’s top-end phones.
 
The front-facing selfie camera is a 13MP (f/2.2) affair and images taken aren’t the most detailed I’ve seen, though it’s perfectly usable for selfies and video calls. Motorola offers a single beautification slider, which is sensibly disabled by default (left), but I’ve turned it up to halfway (middle) and all the way (right) to give you an idea of the general impact. It looks like it’s smoothing only, as the marks of my skin gradually get airbrushed out of existence.

As far as I can tell, video can only be captured at 1080p at 30fps – either that, or Motorola has hidden away the settings in a very hard-to-reach spot. Stabilisation is good, managing to stay pretty steady even when I was deliberately shaking the phone a lot, but the footage is a little soft and very light on detail. 

Motorola Moto G50 review: Verdict

Slight camera disappointments aside, there’s a whole lot to recommend about the Moto G50. It looks great, has a decent screen, includes 5G support, has an incredible battery life and is only a hair behind the Poco X3 NFC in terms of performance for £200. Factor in the nice, clean installation of Android and it’s clear Motorola is on to a winner here.

 
I’d still probably buy the Poco X3 NFC if £200 was my absolute budget thanks to improved performance and a Full HD 120Hz screen, even though it lacks 5G. And if photography is your thing then I’d probably suggest trying to find last year’s Moto G9 Plus instead, which offers better shots and similar performance for the same price.

 
All the same, the Moto G50 is probably my pick of the sub-£200 Motos, offering a great all-round package that’s hard to beat for the low cost of entry. And if 5G is vital to you, there’s really not much else at this price.

Motorola Moto G50 specifications
ProcessorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 (2x2GHz, 6x18GHz)
RAM4GB
Screen size6.5in
Screen resolution1,600 x 720
Pixel density269ppi
Screen typeIPS
Screen refresh rate90Hz
Front camera13MP (f/2.2)
Rear camera48MP (f/1.7), 5MP (f/2.4) macro, 2MP (f/2.4) depth
FlashLED
Dust and water resistanceNo
3.5mm headphone jackYes
Wireless chargingNo
USB connection typeUSB-C
Storage options64GB
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wi-Fi802.11ac
Bluetooth5
NFCYes
Cellular data5G, 4G
Dual SIMYes (shared with microSD)
Dimensions (WDH)165 x 75 x 9mm
Weight192g
Operating systemAndroid 11
Battery size5,000mAh